A WELL-KNOWN ice cream seller, who served up treats to generations of Hampshire families since the 1970s, has died.

Pasquale Marucci, from Chandler’s Ford passed away on January 11 aged 86.

He had been supplying ice cream to the families of Bishopstoke, Fair Oak, Bishop’s Waltham and Wickham for more than 40 years.

After moving to the area from Italy in 1959, Pasquale originally got a job on a farm, before starting his own business, Marucci’s Ice Cream, in 1972.

Now, hundreds have taken to social media to pay their respects leaving Pasquale’s family “overwhelmed” with his popularity.

Edana Cowey, Mr Marucci’s daughter, said: “I never realised how loved he was and what an impact he made on people’s childhoods. I’m overwhelmed by it.”

She added that all his grandchildren were very proud to call him Nonno (Italian for Grandfather).

His granddaughter, Natalie Marucci joked that she’d even received marriage proposals because of her famous grandfather.

Adrian Marucci, Pasquale’s son added: “Ice cream vans aren’t cheap and dad was probably the lowest price around.

“One girl was saying that it was the only thing they had as a treat because dad was so cheap they could afford to have ice cream.”

Adrian’s wife, Mary has now taken over the business.

Mr Marucci leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Pasqualina, three children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

The funeral is due to be held on February 3, with the procession going along parts of his old round from near to ASDA in Chandler’s Ford, all the way to Holy Cross Church on Leigh Road, Eastleigh via Bishop’s Waltham.

The family said that by doing this members of the community can pay their respects in a Covid secure way from their front doors.